CGA received the following update from our partners at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), courtesy of the USDA’s Andrea Gold who is Director of Retailer Policy and Management Division (SNAP):
Given the volume of inquiries coming to FNS I thought it best to share two things with all of you.
There are 2,500 + stores that failed to complete SNAP reauthorization and were therefore withdrawn effective December 21, 2018; this information would have caused these stores to stop processing around Dec 26th (or later).
We always want to do all we can to give stores the opportunity to respond to reauthorization, and so the reauthorization process includes at least two letters from FNS to the store’s mailing address and a robo-call reminder to the phone number of record before withdrawal occurs. We often hear that letters and phone calls were not received – but of course our reach-out is predicated on the address and phone provided by the store owner for the FNS record being accurate and up to date.
At this juncture, our retailer management system is off line, the retailer management team is furloughed, and the SNAP Retailer Service Center is also off line due to the lapse in funds. We can’t assist these stores until the federal government is funded.
Once we resume normal operations affected store owners should contact the SNAP Retail Service Center at 1-877-823-4369 for assistance with next steps. I would note that of course the volume of calls and inquiries in the early days of startup will be challenging, and we will need to ask for patience as we work through the backlog of applications, reauthorizations, and other issues that have occurred during the shutdown period.